Hazel had a lot of good advice. One of her best gems was a cure for poison-ivy rash. Beth Ann had tried all the over-the-counter remedies and some other extreme measures to treat her poison-ivy rash with no improvement. Her senior volunteer – office assistant, Hazel, told her to try rubbing the rash with Jewelweed or eat the blossoms. It was the treatment she used as a child in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
It worked. It worked on Beth Ann and it has worked on the skeptics to whom Beth Ann passed on the homespun remedy. Jewelweed is a member of the Impatiens family. I have very little wild Jewelweed and deer graze what I do have, so I grow pots of annual bedding Impatiens. They also seem to do the trick.
We freeze Jewelweed and Impatiens to have available for late fall or early spring run-ins with poison-ivy, sumac, nettle and insect bites. In our experience, treatment is most effective when the stem of fresh Jewelweed or Impatiens is crushed or opened and rubbed on the rash or bite. I’ve been known to eat some of the plant for good measure and it actually has a pleasant taste.